By: Eric Myers
Kasim Hill has started just four games in his young collegiate career, but, despite his youth, the redshirt freshman quarterback is providing a mature presence under center for Maryland’s football program.
In the fourth quarter of Saturday’s win over Bowling Green, interim head coach Matt Canada scanned his laminated play sheet and repeatedly turned to the running game.
Hill was the player receiving that play call and relaying it to his teammates. Hill is also Maryland’s best quarterback option in the passing game, yet he was tasked with only attempting one pass while closing out the win over the Falcons.
“We’re not worried about stats, we’re not worried about numbers, we’re worried about winning,” Canada said. “And I think Kasim did a great job at that.”
For the Maryland signal caller, winning meant distributing the ball primarily via handoffs to the likes of Tayon Fleet-Davis, Lorenzo Harrison III, Ty Johnson and Anthony McFarland, who consistently reeled off long gains to wear down the defense.
Canada remarked after the game that it was difficult to call a pass play with the success that the running game was generating. Combine that success with the wet ball, a lead and the potential to take time off the clock, and the decision to rely on the rushing attack was an easy one for the Maryland coaching staff.
In the midst of rainy conditions, Hill completed just 8-of-16 passes. Despite those numbers, the Washington D.C. native kept his composure throughout and didn’t force anything that was covered.
“Ever since I was younger, my parents always taught me about composure,” Hill said. “I try and stay calm in everything, no matter the situation.”
Tangible proof of Hill’s composure is the 66 consecutive passes he’s thrown without throwing an interception to begin his college career. That streak represents the longest in the program’s history since Danny O’Brien opened his career without an interception through 96 passes in 2010.
In his second year in College Park, Hill playing in his first year of Canada’s offensive scheme, as the play caller joined the staff in the offseason after a season at LSU.
Canada has repeatedly said that his offense emphasizes taking advantage of what the defense leaves open. In the first two games, the running game has been working for Maryland, but it’s only a matter of time until defenses key in on stopping the run and Hill is afforded more opportunities in the passing game.
“There’ll be a game where we don’t run the ball as well. When they stop the run, we have to throw passes,” Canada said. “I’m certainly hopeful, and I know it will be, that our backs will be just as happy [as Hill is when they score] because hopefully we’ll win.”